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Writing an Argumentative Essay 101

by | Sep 15, 2015 | Higher Education


Writing an Argumentative Essay 101

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘think before you speak’. It’s generally said in quite a supportive way – often after someone hasn’t!

But the saying makes a good point, especially when it comes to putting forward an effective argument. Arguments are vehicles for your thoughts to travel. Any weak link can stop them getting to where you want them to go. This is of course extremely important when you’re writing an argumentative essay. Here are a few good pointers to help you design a solid argument:

  1. Map out your idea

Start by formulating your thesis or claim and your supporting statements for it.

Once you have done this, you can target your research areas more precisely and you can consider the strengths and weaknesses of your case. 

  1. Know what you’re arguing against

Set out what you think are the major supporting statements for the opposing case to your own.

This will help you to find evidence that will refute those statements.

  1. Get the evidence before you make the claims

Begin your research by ensuring that you can find evidence for each of your supporting statements. Check the evidence for the other side. You may need to change some of your argument, depending on the information you find.

  1. Have your sources ready

Make sure that you have listed all the necessary bibliographic information about your sources, especially page numbers. You will need that information for your references and reference list.

  1. You don’t have to start writing with the introduction

When your research is complete, begin on the body of your essay, perhaps leaving the introduction until last. It is usually easier to start with your most important point. You can reorganize things later.

  1. Structure your argument

Once you have a rough draft, think about how to organise your argument in the most effective way. Logical, well-thought-out organisation – along with clear, concise English – is one of the main persuasive tools in argumentative essays.


Hay, I, Bochner, D, Blacket, G, & C, Dungey. 2012. Making The Grade. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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